What is essential is to observe. Get to know your child. If you really recognize what your child needs…then you will respond in the right way. — Dr. Emmi Pikler

One of my favorite books is The Little Prince, a worldwide classic by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Though written as a children’s book, the book has also been enjoyed by adults as it makes several profound observations about life and human nature.

As a mother I’ve had the opportunity to experience the power and gift of observation. Focusing on my little one’s body language—his face, his legs, his arms, his cries—and what he might be trying to communicate, has helped me to respond appropriately to his needs from early on. At first, like many new moms, I was nervous and looked to books, articles and the experience of others to know what a cry or particular body language could mean. After a few months, I decided to trust my own, newly developed, maternal instinct and do what came naturally for me—I observed my baby and discovered his unique personality. What a gift it continues to be to get to know him more and more everyday.

Roasted Orange Cauliflower

When my son turned one, I enrolled in a Parent and Child class at a Waldorf school. There, observation time is part of the class structure. Parents are encouraged to observe their children to better know, understand, care and communicate with them.

Magda Gerber, an early childhood educator wrote, “Observation is a state of mind and focused attention that cannot occur when the mind is in motion. The less you do, the more you observe…To observe means to be open and detached so that you can see the situation more clearly.” The beauty of observation is that it’s power reaches far beyond early childhood development. As the process is more fundamental than just a way to understand and/or respond to someone else’s needs, it’s also a skill that can be honed and used throughout life. The process of observation invites us to get to know each other—our colleagues, our neighbors, our classmates, our children, our family, our friends, etc.—embracing the differences that make us unique.

The essence of Saint Exupéry’s story of the little prince revolves around a meeting between the prince and a fox. The lines uttered by the fox are arguably the most famous quotations from the book as they deal with human relationships. The process of observation is described by the fox when, in explaining how the little prince can get to know and tame him, he says,“You have to be very patient. First you’ll sit down a little ways away from me, over there, in the grass. I’ll watch you out of the corner of my eye, and you won’t say anything. Language is the source of misunderstandings. But day by day, you’ll be able to sit a little closer…. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Roasted Orange Cauliflower

Roasted Orange Cauliflower with Oat Berries and Coconut-Lime Dressing
1/2 cup whole oat berries (oat groats)
1 1/4 cups water
pinch of salt
1 head orange cauliflower, cut in florets
2 tablespoons coconut oil
juice and zest of one lime, fresh
salt and pepper
1/4 cup cranberries
1-2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chopped parsley

In a small saucepan, bring oat berries, water and salt to boil. Decrease temperature to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until tender but chewy, about 30-40 minutes. remove from heat and set aside. Still covered, allow to steam for an additional 10-15 minutes. Drain any excess liquid. Allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl or baking pan combine florets, oil, lime and salt and pepper. Toss florets until well coated.

Roast in oven for 20-25 minuts. Allow to cool. In a small skillet, toast pumpkin seeds for 7-10 minutes, allow to cool. In a large bowl combine oat berries and cauliflower. Add cranberries, pumpkin seeds and parsley. Taste, adjust salt and serve.

Martine’s Notes: Soaking oat berries in advance is optional. If you’d like to soak them, 2-3 hours is sufficient. If you can’t find oat berries, use farro, kamut or wheat berries. If you cannot find orange cauliflower, white or any other variety of cauliflower will do.

To view my recipe for purple cauliflower, see Sicilian Cauliflower Salad.

13 thoughts on “Roasted Orange Cauliflower with Oat Berries and Coconut-Lime Dressing

  1. What a beautiful dish, Martine, and lovely post. I enjoyed The Little Prince greatly in school, and I think it may be high time I revisit it. I don’t have children yet, but I find it is important to be just as observant of adults. I learn so much just from watching others. Less talk, more watching, my mom used to say. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ngan, excellent advice from your mom! And you’re right, it IS just as important to observe adults. When we take the time to observe, its a way to respect each other and get to know each other and all of our unique qualities. Also, I’m glad you liked the dish. The orange cauliflower did all the work, it was beautiful even before I worked with it! 🙂

    1. Thank you Fae. I’ve had so much fun trying out new things with cauliflower lately. And finding the orange and purple varieties has really been a treat! I’ve been enjoying your recent posts! 🙂

    1. Thank you Sonal. I’m so glad to know you loved reading the post! It was nice to write. We’ve been enjoying our parent/toddler classes at Waldorf. The environment has been calm and nurturing. Love to you. 🙂

  2. What delicious pictures Martine! I don’t think cauliflower has ever looked more lovely in pictures! You dress vegetables as elegantly as Givenchy dressed Audrey Hepburn! In your post, you again ever so gently explain how to love–because to love is to behold the one who is loved and to take in exactly who they are. This is my first time to hear of The Little Prince. Thank you for sharing the valuable lesson that though we humans need “language” to communicate sometimes what the eye brings in is the only necessary language. There is value in setting apart one’s self from another and allowing the uniqueness of you from another to unfold naturally and unhindered. And sometimes that is enough to love better. I wish you and your Little Prince much love and an overflow of happiness in watching each other!

    1. Wow, my dressing of cauliflower compared to Givenchy dressing Hepburn! Woohoo, that’s a first. I love how he dressed her. So chic, so timeless! Merci!! 🙂 I like how the wonderful Julia Child once said something like, you don’t have to cook fancy or complicated food, just good food with good ingredients. Well this orange cauliflower deserves all the credit. It’s natural beauty was a joy to work with in this dish! I was just the servant who brought it to table.

      You too beautifully described what love is. You MUST read The Little Prince. So thought provoking in a lovely, child-like way. I loved the book so much I used to have a collection of it in every language I was familiar with–French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, English…. Not anymore. But I do look forward to reading it to my little prince one day! He has “tamed” me. Just like the Prince tamed the fox. You’ll know what I mean when you read it. Much love to you!

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